First Catch

fish1It was the last sunday in April and it was gorgeous outside. After the winter we just had, it seemed unreal that we would ever see another day like this. The temp was in the high 60s, and as usual, I had a loose plan with Jay to venture into the woods. We usually discuss details when I show up at his house.
We quickly decided on a plan. We would go to one of our favorite trout fishing spots on the Pawtuxet River in West Warwick. If and when we caught a keeper or two, we would head over to another spot by a brook in Exeter to cook and eat the trout. It was a two-part plan and a good way to soak up some of this amazing day before I had to get back to life and back to reality.

Within minutes of our arrival, I caught a good sized rainbow trout. The fight was amazing. It jumped out of the water like the iconic imagery you see of fishermen in paintings, movies, or a Bass Pro Shop logo.  I wasted no time and reeled the fish onto land where I quickly cleaned it in preparation for the day’s lunch.

We did not anticipate that the first task of the day would be accomplished so fast, but we got what we came for. Jay was not too interested in pursuing more fish.  It was time to move on to the next part of our journey. Such an early catch just meant we had more time to hang out by the fire and relax on this picturesque day.
By the time we arrived at our next location, the temp was creeping into the 70s. The brook that cuts through the land sparkled from the sun and there was more greenery than the last time I was in the area. Not long ago it was a colorless landscape of snow. Today it looked more like a place you might run into a fairy or a hobbit.
I started a fire with flint and steel. To do this you must throw the sparks into a little bundle of tinder, which Jay had already prepared. When a spark catches, you roll the bundle over to allow the growing flame to rise through the rest of it. Add a little kindling, and you are now cooking with fire. I make it a point to practice this method of fire starting whenever I get a chance because it is a good skill to know, and because it is fun to do.
fish2Jay and I sipped on some whisky while exchanging stories of the past week. Like usual, Jay came prepared with fixins. He wrapped the cleaned fish in aluminum foil with butter and pepper, then put it on the coals of the fire. It cooked for about 15 to 20 minutes. To kill a little time while we waited for our lunch, Jay showed me how to flintknap and make an arrowhead from stone. It is a serious hobby of his. I used a deer antler to chip away at the edge of a rock for a few minutes, then moved on to other ways to keep my hands occupied, like throwing rocks and sticks at trees, or in the brook to make a splash. After all, we were not fishing any more.
Our rainbow trout was cooked and ready to eat. When you cook them right, the whole skeleton can easily be peeled right off of the meat. With our fingers we tore at the steaming hot flesh of the fresh fish. As always, it tasted excellent. As far as I am concerned, we were eating like kings.
We finished the trout and began to pack up. I reluctantly got the ball rolling to get out of there. It was a bit of a hike to the car, and I had responsibilities to attend to at home. It was a long and brutal winter, and I intend on soaking up all of the warm weather that I can. Before we know it, the first hints of winter will be here again.

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